Linus Torvalds on GNOME

Here he is encouraging people to switch to KDE and here he's calling some people "fucking idiots". What stroke me in the latter post and what I would like to single out is the often-neglected logical fallacy with "majority" arguments:

In other words: your "majority" argument is total and utter BULLSHIT. It can be true for any particular feature, but it's simply not true in general.

To put it in mathematical terms: "The Intersection of all Majorities is the empty set", or its corollary: "The Union of even the smallest minorities is the universal set".

It's a total logical fallacy to think that the intersection of two majorities would still be a majority. It is pretty damn rare, in fact, because these things are absolutely not correlated.
Read the provided links for the complete context.

Personally, I don't use neither GNOME or KDE. Everything that I'm doing, I'm doing in fvwm2. Configuration is trivial to copy across different machines, and it starts up blazingly fast, compared to other "desktop systems". What's more, it isn't a constant resource hog with a bunch of background-running processes as GNOE and KDE are.



Ivica Loncar said...

As a long time fvwm user I can only say: fvwm sucks. It's fast but it's a PITA to configure it correctly. It has even more problems than GNOME or KDE and I know Linus would gladly switch from fvwm to GNOME.

Right now I'm using xfce because I'm sick of fvwm configuration and because I like the way alt-tab behaves.

There are other major issues with linux on the desktop. For example: sound mixers. Esound sucks and arts is not better. Others (like jack) are not globally accepted and there aren't many applications using it. There's no easy way to play different sounds simultanously on linux. Configuration is subtle to errors, it's not trivial and there's no guarantee it will work for more than 2 hours.

Back to sound issues: music players. xmms works but it's not very usable to me (winamp clone with buttons to small). Amarok is to complicated and bloated. Muine depends on gstreamer (gstreamer has version number less than 1.0 with a reason) and sometimes crashes. Banshee looks nice but it depends on ipod and dbus which aren't available on Debian (hey, I don't own ipod, why do I need it to compile banshee?). Lately I'm using rhythmbox and xmms but it's not what I want from music player.

In conclusion: Right now, some 8 years since I have started using it, Linux desktop still sucks when you think about all those little things that aren't part of your serious work. I admit: it has been fun to configure everything for the first 4 years but now I just don't give a damn about X11, X.org, esound, gstreamer, fvwm or any other configuration. I just want it to work out of the box and to tune it the easy way (through gui without writing a line of code in any programming language).

zvrba said...

Well, I'm using the same fvwm configuration for a few years now. It does EVERYTHING I need. I'm using mplayer to play MP3s, stream radio stations over the internet and watch movies. I have never had the need to simultaneously use more than one application needing sounds (I find the so-called "system" sounds very annoying). I never fell for fancy and colourful stuff. I want to easily perform tasks that I need to. And my current configuration suits me perfectly.

Your comment got me thinking - what's that big deal with "the desktop"? WTF is desktop anyway?! Reading your comment I thinkt that it is an ARTIFICIAL need of SPOILED users created by Apple and Microsoft.

I mean, music player has to play music. XMMS does that job very well. What more do you expect of it?!

You have a valid point on the stability of various programs though. And the number of different standards is just a consequence of an open-source model and lack of centralized supervision. Perhaps, exactly for that reason, Linux will always "suck" by your desktop standards and will never get to the level of Windows.

Igor Pozgaj said...

I really don't need some fancy desktop manager to take much of the useful space and starts dozen of little programs that take a lot of valuable memory. Only thing I need is a nice way to organize my xterms (aterms actually) and set of selected X applications (opera, gqview, mplayer...). I am using wmaker for 4+ years and it offers all that I need from a window manager: it's light, stable, fast and it is not bloatware as KDE and GNOME are.

Anonymous said...

There's no easy way to play different sounds simultanously on linux.

It depends on what sound card you have, I've been able to have multiple apps output directly to my sound card since around 1999/2000, I think I used esd before that.

If you are so picky about sound invest in a decent sound card. The basic SB Live come pretty cheap these days.

Mike said...

Linux may work great as a standalone server, but it's a piss-poor desktop. Let's face it: X and other windowing systems are slow, buggy, and a pain to configure compared to Windows. Open Office is a sick joke. It takes more disk space than Microsoft Office, has fewer features, is buggy and slow. Need I say more? Linux has NO business being deployed as anything other than a server, and it has NO future on the desktop. Linux was never designed to operate in graphical mode, and it shows. These people need to get a freaking clue. The OS of the future is NOT going to be based on a 1960s command line OS. You can force Linux to do almost anything, but it's like kicking dead whales down the beach (FOLDOC that one if you want to know what it means. www.foldoc.org).